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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  January 9, 2014 8:00pm-9:01pm PST

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>> sort of. i mean, we called in our editorial today, we wanted kelly fired by this morning. which wasn't quite what we got. we wanted stepien gone. so i think that was good evening, from new york. i'm chris hayes.
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two new jersey officials have been fired and the governor of that state is now in full-on defense mode. as the george washington bridge political retribution scandal continues to gain momentum. a total of four people have now lost their jobs as governor christie announced today in an epic press conference that he has fired his deputy chiefs of staff, bridget anne kelly, author of the now infamous e-mail reading "time for some traffic problems in ft. lee." one of governor christie's most trusted advisers, campaign manager bill stepien, whose e-mail called the mayor of ft. lee an idiot, who was fired and instructed not to submit his name for state party chairman. the firings come on a day when the u.s. attorney has announced the opening of a federal investigation and key christie appointee at the center of the scandal pled the fifth in front of the new jersey house committee and we will get to all of that.
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but before we do, governor christie gave the performance of his life today. once apologizing and portraying himself as the victim, all in an effort to prove he has nothing left to hide, but there is so, so much we still do not know. >> good morning. >> today in new jersey, chris christie put on a marathon performance. ripped straight from a "west wing" script. >> i should do a till they drop press conference on the nuclear accident. answer every reporter's question. stay at the microphone until i bore them to death. >> during a press conference that lasted 108 minutes the world got a chance to see how chris christie is dealing with the scandal that could end his career in politics. for one thing, chris christie is stunned. >> i'm stunned. >> he is embarrassed. >> it's embarrassing. >> he's also humiliated. >> because he's been betrayed. >> a person close to me betrayed
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me, betrayed me. >> therefore, he's angry. >> what i read yesterday makes me angry. >> then, again, maybe he's just sorting some stuff out. >> i don't know what the stages of grief are in exact order. >> today we found out in spite of videotaped evidence that would lead us to think otherwise -- >> are you stupid? >> -- chris christie is no bully. >> i am who i am but i'm not a bully. >> the biggest takeaway from chris christie's event today is new jersey's governor is sad. >> and you can only imagine, as i was standing there in my bedroom with my ipad looking at that how incredibly sad and betrayed i felt. >> chris christie is, like, really, seriously legit sad. >> but i am a very sad person today. it just makes me sad. but i got to tell you the truth, i'm sad. i'm a sad guy standing here
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today. >> it was an effort to take some responsibility while showing he has nothing to hide and that he was as shocked about all of this as we were. but after an hour and a half of answers, i've got more questions than i did this morning. first, when did you find out about the e-mails? >> i was done with my workout yesterday morning and got a call from my communications director at about 8:50, 8:55 informing me of this story that had just broken on the "bergen record" website. >> later in a moment of unguarded honesty, christie admits something different. >> i haven't had a lot of sleep the last two nights, and i've been doing a lot of soul searching. i'm sick over this. >> so governor christie, was it two sleepless nights or one? >> if you're asking me over the last 48 ours or last 36 hours, i've done some soul searching, you bet i have. >> next, why do you still think that there was a traffic study? >> there may have been a traffic study.
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whether there was a traffic study or not, i don't know. >> to be clear, there was no traffic study. remember, this all started when your then-deputy chief of staff e-mailed "time for some traffic problems in ft. lee." to be clear, the executive director of the port authority testified that there was no such study. >> i'm not aware of any traffic study. i don't know why it was done. >> another port authority official said he has never participated in any study like this before. >> my exact words is this will not end well. >> that is because, once more, for those like the governor who are slow tos up, there was no traffic study. >> i don't know what makes a legitimate traffic study. i probably wouldn't know a traffic study if i tripped over it. >> you don't just create traffic to study it. >> this could go back to the nuance of what really constitutes a traffic study or not. >> only traffic study that happened was, what will happen to traffic in ft. lee when the governor's cronies punish the mayor?
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next, what was david samson's involvement? david samson is another christie appointee implicated in the e-mails who somehow escaped the ax. in an e-mail to bridget kelly, david wildsetin wrote the new york side gave ft. lee back all three lanes this morning. we're appropriately going nuts. samson helping us to retaliate. >> i'm convinced he had absolutely no knowledge of this. >> why would wildstein be lying about samson's involvement in a private e-mail he never thought would see the light of day? and why are so many people on your staff lying to you? >> what did i do wrong to have these folks think it was okay to lie to me? >> that's a good question. and finally, perhaps most importantly, if the people around you did this, what else have they been up to? >> how confident are you that this bullying tactic, this revenge, retribution tactic, did not go off --
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>> i won't go out there and certify this unequivically. >> joining me, steve kornacki. one-time employee of david wildstein. i should say that for disclosure's sake. okay. there are so many questions from the governor's performance today. here's the first one i want to start with. that e-mail, that first e-mail that gets the ball rolling, time for some traffic problems in ft. lee. let's say you believe the governor. he has no idea. wouldn't you be curious, like, how did that happen? how did that e-mail lead to this? what was the prologue to that whole situation. >> right. i think realistically the -- christie wants you to believe he
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was completely in the dark on everything until yesterday on the treadmill, whatever exactly it was, the gym, wherever it was he found out about this. okay. realistically speaking the best-case scenario for christie goes something like this. he figured it out in his head sometime over the last couple months. all the questions from the news media percolated as this story kind of grew. he's a relatively smart guy. it's hard to stare at this and not put two and two together, at least be suspicious. what he might have figured this version of events would go is he could run the clock out on this. one of the key dates on this was next tuesday when the current legislative session expires and when a subpoena authority of the current legislature expires with it -- it's a long sort of internal new jersey politics story. the incoming speaker of the state assembly in new jersey is a product of this alliance that chris christie has with democrats, pro-christie democrats. there was some thought the incoming speaker would not suspend the subpoena authority until this week. >> what's perfect, that gets to the core of this whole thing because the entire core of the christie appeal, right, of the christie mystique is i bring people together, i've got democrats for christie,
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christie-crats. i'm the only person who can make this state function because i've got these democrats and we can work together. while washington is broken. and what this does, it shows what the predicate was for that kind of cooperation which is that if you stepped out of line, you got traffic for four days in your town. >> right. the other thing is, like, we have -- one of the -- there are many unresolved questions from today. i think one of them is very much, was -- it's been reported this is about an endorsement, seeking an endorsement from a democratic mayor and denied the endorsement. i'm not convinced that's the case. >> let's bring in new jersey congressman, johnson also of ft. lee. >> part of my district. >> part of your district. >> yes. >> the one thing you got the mayor of ft. lee and governor basically agreeing on at this point is the early reporting which is the assumption that the mayor of ft. lee didn't endorse chris christie and this was retribution for that, both the
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mayor seems to not think that's the case and the governor seems to not think that's case. what the heck was he being punished for? >> you know, i don't know. i don't know. i just find it very hard to believe that miss kelly, the deputy chief of staff, working in the governor's shadow, in his office, in the front office, didn't -- just did this -- >> freelance. >> well, you know, they say it's a rogue operation, i think is the term was used. i can't believe she would do something without some type of direction from someone in that office. >> do you think the governor lied today? >> i think that what he said today, i have more questions. i mean, i think he had to know something about this. all right? i mean, it's his office, his inner circle. >> as someone who works in new jersey politics and elected official in that state, has to deal with the governor and his staff on various things. you've gotten the sense up until now that this guy is pretty checked out, staff is basically doing most things, bring him stuff to sign and that's it? >> the governor runs a very tight operation.
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very strict. very militaristic. i've had commissioners that when i request to see him, he'll have to -- >> restate that sentence. commissioners in what capacity? >> department heads. >> you want to sit down with a department head -- >> they have to go through him. >> so before a commissioner will meet with a member of the state legislature, to work out some issue, it's that -- something like that gets -- >> very tight operation. yes. yes. that's why i cannot believe that this young lady, miss kelly, who is the deputy chief of staff in the governor's office, in the front office would do this without some type of directions from someone. >> which brings us back to the other person fired today who was, i think, had much more authority, much closer to the governor. steve, you know the characters at issue here. bill stepien. how close was he to governor christie? >> bill stepien was his campaign manager in 2009. the interesting thing about what bill stepien was doing before he was the campaign manager and why
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i'd say it's possible this is about an endorsement, might be other factors we don't now about. stepien was his political enforcer in the state. there's a position in the governor's office, ethically, there's an ethical way to do this. his job was to look around the state and deal with the municipalities, mayors, deal with the councils. it's entirely plausible to me, that's by the way, a position bridget kelly moved into. she was probably in the administration -- >> this is far of the administration that says, i'm the governor, all right? and i've got folks who are on my side and folks who aren't on my side. there's someone in my office and goes to the side -- >> yes, not legally speaking, but, i mean -- >> we should say there's a degree of that that is present in all politics. right? there's a certain base-level degree of that that is not, like, closing four lanes of
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traffic to destroy a town's traffic system. right? i mean, there's ways you say you help your allies. >> cooperative relationships are some people and hostile relationships -- >> the question is where this kind of behavior is falling on this spectrum. that was bill stepien's job and he was running the came pain. >> he was running the campaign and bridget kelly was into this position in the governor's office he had bed before. bridget kelly was brought into the governor's office, most reporting suggests. when i knew bridget kelly, she was chief of staff to a relatively sort of mild mannered assemblyman from bergen county. >> she's come a long way. >> i cannot reconcile the bridget kelly i knew from those days with the bridget kelly -- >> time for traffic in ft. lee? >> beyond that, there's commissioners at the port authority nominated by the governor and put in place by the senate. confirmed by the senate. these people didn't tell the
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governor that weinberg and i attended the meetings, complaining about the traffic issues in ft. lee, about these stoppages? >> no one told him. i mean -- >> november 13th, we're there. december 4th, we're there. loretta weinberg and i attended these meetings. complaining to them about this traffic -- this traffic tie-up, this traffic chaos in ft. lee, why did it exist? one of these folks picked up the phone and called the governor's office and said, hey, we had some legislators here. i just don't get it. >> do you think it is, knowing a bit about the players involved, is it plausible to you that no one's communicating this to christie at any point? >> in a way, it is, and in a way it speaks to the culture that's sort of created around this add administration. this administration, christie administration, relative to recent governorships in new jersey has been a lot more aggressive and a lot more hands-on when it comes to getting involved in local politics. >> yes. hear that everywhere. >> talk to republicans in new
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jersey privately because there's been, you know, one of the things, christie's popularity has made it difficult for people to speak up. talk to republicans in new jersey, not drinking the christie kool-aid every day, they'll tell you stories at granular, municipal levels saying something in the local press or taking action on the municipal council. hearing from somebody high up in his administration, hearing from the governor, himself. this is something that did not happen with jon corzine or jim mcgreevey. >> it's plausible people operating under him could think, this is how we do business, what we do without saying, hey, boss, what do you think of us causing a traffic jam for four days in ft. lee for no reason? >> i asked a republican today, this morning, i haven't seen republicans come out and support christie. we're surprised to see a man this politically smart to get in a situation like this. on the other hand, we don't know what to say, because political
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payback operations is the m.o. of this administration. >> gordon johnson, steve kornacki, host of "up with steve kornacki" on the weekends. coming up, today's press conference was only one ring of the political circus. >> are you currently employed? >> no. >> most recently, where were you employed? >> on the advice of my counsel, i respectfully assert my right to remain silent under the united states and new jersey constitutions. >> the first christie appointee to be called before a new jersey house committee clams up. more on that straight ahead. roo. that's my geico digital insurance id card - gots all my pertinents on it and such. works for me. turn to the camera. ah, actually i think my eyes might ha... next! digital insurance id cards. just a tap away on the geico app.
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i have to read this to you and get your response to it. it was one of most vicious little jabs in there. after an article about the traffic jam, we have david wildstein saying "it will be a tough november for this little
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serbian." got a response to that? >> david wildstein deserves an ass kicking, okay? sorry. there, i said it. >> oh, he said it, all right. when david wildstein, himself, had to face questions today about the scandal, what did he have to say? that is ahead. [ male announcer ] this is kevin. to prove to you that aleve is the better choice for him, he's agreed to give it up. that's today? [ male announcer ] we'll be with him all day as he goes back to taking tylenol. i was okay, but after lunch my knee started to hurt again. and now i've got to take more pills. ♪ yup. another pill stop. can i get my aleve back yet? ♪ for my pain, i want my aleve. ♪ [ male announcer ] look for the easy-open red arthritis cap.
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later today, i'm going to be going to ft. lee. i'm asked to meet with the mayor
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to apologize to him personally face to face. and also to apologize to the people of ft. lee in their town. people of those communities for four days were impacted in a callous and different way i'm going to go and apologize for that. >> that was chris christie at his press conference this morning vowing to personally apologize to the people of ft. lee following bombshell revelations that a senior christie staffer ordered the lane closure that turned ft. lee into a parking lot for four days. in order to punish ft. lee's may mayor, frankly, it's not clear why he was being punished. that mayor who appeared on this program last night and will be on rachel's show later which you'll want to see said early this afternoon he did not want christie to only to his town saying the visit would mark yet another disruption for ft. lee. >> i would ask the governor, ft. lee can be granted one request, one request through all of this, we would ask that he delay his visit here today. >> christie, perhaps not surprisingly, went anyway. dodging dozens of news crews that christie later described as warm and productive. the most controversial action in the bridgegate scandal happened today not in ft. lee and not at chris christie's press conference but a conference room in trenton at a previously scheduled hearing by the state assembly committee that's
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investigating the scandal. it is the committee that subpoenaed -- was saying this about just last month when asked about the investigation. >> listen, just because john is obsessed with this and loretta weinberg, it just shows you they have nothing to do. >> nothing to do. obsessed. testifying before the committee today was the guy you see right there. the one and only david wildstein, hearing his name a lot because he is the guy who probably knows more about what actually happened than anyone. wildstein went to high school with chris christie and christie signed off on wildstein being hired at a high-ranking job at the port authority. wildstein is the man responsible for perhaps the most shockingly callous comment revealed about the traffic disaster he helped orchestrate. this message dismissing ft. lee kids being stuck in traffic on their first day of school, they are the children of buono voters, reference to barbara buono, the democratic opponent many the governor's race who will join us here later.
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the committee had a lot of questions for david wildstein today as one might expect. wildstein -- >> i respectfully assert my right to remain silent under the united states and new jersey constitutions. on the advice of counsel, i, again, assert my right to remain silent. >> the same answer. >> the same answer, sir. same answer, sir. it's the same answer, sir. >> you get the idea. the committee found wildstein in contempt. plans to refer the charge to a county prosecutor. members vow this is not the end of their investigation. they're just getting started.
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joining me now, new jersey assemblywoman, vice chair of the transportation committee, committee before which he appeared today. so what's your reaction to david wildstein's pleading the fifth today? >> every time he said that, we knew that there was concern that he was trying to protect himself against criminal charges and that every time he declined to answer, it opened up the floodgate for more questions. and at the end, all we were left with were, was the knowledge that he didn't want to answer any of our questions because he was afraid he would incriminate himself. >> we have some of the documents that have been subpoenaed. i think -- are there a lot more? that is my understanding. there are more in the documents than we have seen. >> yes, there were 900 pages
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from wildstein. documents that were being referred to today are probably the highlights in terms of having the most unanswered questions. there was so much information it was redacted. there are so many inconsistencies. >> might i ask you about the redactions? there's a few pages you see, we're showing them right there, i remember one that stuck out to me, entirely redacted. the last line is, who does he think he is, captain america? it's unclear whom is talking about whom. why are there redactions? this is not national security. why was it redacted? >> done by the attorney, done by the port authority, apparently. at the end of the committee meeting, there was a conversation between john and the attorney. we do expect to have better resolution on that because they need to come back and explain why information was redacted. >> you don't know why it was redacted. >> we don't know why it was redacted other than the fact they felt it wasn't useful or of
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import to the subpoena. when you can't tell who the exchanges were between, that's information we need to know. we know to know who else were on that distribution list. we need to know who specifically they were talking about when they made references to other people we believe were in the administration and close to chris christie. >> what is the next step, then, for this investigation? >> we will have to have a new subpoena issued. i believe that we will do that at the beginning of our new session. the new session for the legislature starts as of the 14th of january. next week. after we're all sworn in. and i believe that we will all be in support of continuing this investigation because this is a snowball effect. >> right. >> every time we ask a question, we don't get an answer, there's another tens questions. we need to have the answers. that's our job to gather that information. >> my sense for you, you're not willing to take the governor's word. this didn't go to him. there were just some people. they were up to no good. all done. >> i absolutely two not take the
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governor's word on this. i have no confidence whatsoever that this is as simple and plain as he wanted to make it seem, because clearly the man is very -- he's very practiced. he's -- if anything else, he's a good showman. and he clearly wants to make this go away, but i don't think that that's what happened at this point. i think that the flood gates have opened on this investigation. >> yeah, and my sense is, if people were -- before by the governor's popularity or political power, that's not operative as much anymore. there's sufficient appetite to get to the bottom of this. >> that's right. one of the things the governor said prior to today, this is all about politics. i clearly believe it is all politics, about the abuse of political power. >> new jersey assemblywoman, thank you so much for your time tonight. >> thank you. former gubernatorial candidate barbara buono joins me ahead. stick around. in metamucil actually gels to trap some carbs to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. metamucil. 3 amazing benefits in 1 super fiber.
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of all the many, many, many things governor chris christie said in his marathon nearly two-hour press conference today, this statement may have been the most dubious. >> and so i am extraordinarily disappointed by this. but this is the exception.
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it is not the rule of what's happened over the last four years in this administration. >> that is definitely not what the people in new jersey politics say. i've spoken with them as a reporter off the record and they paint the picture of a very vindictive operation under christie where everyone, democrats and republicans are scared of being punished for stepping out of line or crossing the governor. but you don't have to take my word for it. here's a little known paper called "the new york times," ran a piece from christmas eve, called "stories add up as bully image trails christie" in which the reporter writes about the fate of those who disagreed with christie. "a former governor, a rutgers professor who lost state financing for cherished programs. a state senator whose candidate for judgeship suddenly stalled." don't have to take the "time's" word for it, either. go back to the same e-mails and see christie's aides and port authority staff talked about ignoring messages from mayor mark sokolich of ft. lee, new jersey, when he called to report
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the traffic jam on the george washington bridge. "did he call him back?" "radio silence. his name comes right after mayor fulop." steve fulop, mayor of jersey city. fulop who like sokolich says he's a victim of christie's bullying because he voted for barbara buono, the democrat in christie's re-election last fall. "on the day last year he told christie's political team he would not back the governor, several high ranking state officials and cabinet members called to cancel meetings that christie's administration organized." fulop claims new jersey's senate president steven sweeney, a democrat but big christie ally killed a pension bill in the statehouse that would have saved jersey city $4 million a year. and this, the guy who said,
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"there's a culture in trenton of being punitive. being petty." trenton, new jersey, of course where the governor's office is located. in response to these allegations from fulop about bullying and retribution, christie had this to say. >> i don't know about specific meetings or what's going on, but certainly, you know, i will look into all of those things, but the fact is that what mayor fulop knows is when we agree with him from a policy perspective, we'll work with him. when we disagree with him, we'll express those disagreements. sometimes that will mean friction. >> as soon as christie finished speaking, this is the statement mayor fulop, himself, put out. "governor christie's comments today on my relationship with the state are a gross misrepresentation of the facts." joining me now, one of the foremost experts on the operations of governor chris christie's political machine, new jersey state senator, former gubernatorial democratic candidate, barbara buono. thank you so much for coming. >> good to be here. >> first i just have to ask,
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this must be a strange week for you because you spent the campaign, you sat at this desk right here, interviewed you during the campaign, talked about your campaign several times throughout the campaign. basically saying this guy has everybody spooked. that no one wants to cross him in the state of new jersey. all these democrat its were endorsing him, scratch the surface a little bit. why are they endorsing him? then we get the e-mails. >> i tried to tell you. >> what was your response? >> well, you know, back in september when we first heard about this lane closures, i knew what happened. you know, in my heart of hearts, i know it was this poor mayor who happened to vote his conscience and support me, and this governor has a history of being retaliatory and seeking retribution. when he was first sworn into office in 2010, i was the majority leader, number two in the senate. i actually said something about him in the press that he declared a fiscal state of emergency. i said, what is he declaring marshal law? do you know he never met with me since then even though i was the number two person in the stat in leadership meetings. that's the kind of thing. he's very thin skinned. he gets offended very easily. and he holds a grudge.
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>> what did you hear as you were going around trying to build support for your campaign, which was i think history will show a campaign that was not supported by the democratic party up and down from washington, d.c., national democratic party, institutional democratic party in the state of new jersey. what did you hear from democrats about how what the relationship to christie was like? >> well, very often it arose in the context of fund-raising. i would call up people, lobbyists, people who worked in new jersey and try and raise money. there was a real culture of fear. honestly, i've never seen anything like it in my 20 years in the legislature. >> stop for a second. do you really mean that? >> i do. >> we know how new jersey politics operate. people say, this is jersey. you're really saying the culture of fear over people, fear of retribution was worse than anything you've seen in 20 years? >> i've never seen anything like it. let me give you an example. time after time i tried to raise money from people and they'd say, look, this guy wants to hurt people. i'll give you up to the $300 threshold where it's not a public record, but i won't give
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you above that -- >> because i don't want my name on an enemy's list. >> exactly. so i was relegated to raising money in $300 increments quite a bit. people were afraid he would secret retribution. we've seen it. >> do you think there are more ft. lees? >> well, that's a very good question. and the fact of the matter is, we would not have even known about ft. lee if patrick foy, a new york official appointed by governor cuomo didn't come forward. we would never have nope. that's why i called on the u.s. attorney's office to investigate it, to see if, in fact, there are other places in new jersey that were similarly affected. >> this is a really good point because the reason that this scandal blew up, the reason they were caught red handed is that the port authority is a bistate entity. >> right. >> and the new york side of the entity, new york appointees wouldn't play along with the charade. right? they say, i don't know what the traffic study is, what the heck
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is going on? it makes you wonder if there are other shenanigans happening throughout new jersey where everyone is under the umbrella of fear. what's there? >> chris christie said he was sorry. sorry he got caught. that's why he were sorry. if he were truly, truly sorry he would have come forward a hundred days ago when it was unearthed. no, what he did, he resorted to his showmanship, made jokes, said i was the guy moving the cones. it wasn't until this intrepid reporter, thank you, was able to be so tough and unrelenting in seeking out requests, getting open public records, documentation and e-mails. chris christie had to face the music today. >> barbara buono. thank you. >> thank you. more on the political ramifications, ahead. a fallout from the bridge [ female announcer ] puffs knows
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>> governor chris christie hit by a scandal. >> calls at this hour for the feds to step in, investigate the explosive e-mails that show christie's aides closing highway lanes on the busiest bridge. >> did governor christie know they were ordered as a form of political retribution by top appointees? >> will it stop his presidential ambition? >> how much has it hampered his white house prospects? >> chris christie had a really bad few days as he told us today but his political enemies are having a hell of a week. he has no shortage of them. we'll talk about who's celebrating the governor's implosion, next. ♪
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to roll out a perfectly flaky crust that's made from scratch. or mix vegetables with all white meat chicken and homemade gravy. but marie callender's does. just sit down and savor.
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marie callender's. it's time to savor. so here is the problem with building your entire political reputation and basing all of your political power on being a combative domineering at times vindictive jerk. while you might be able to reign for a time by way of spreading fear, when you inevitably at some point find yourself in need of allies, they're going to have mighty hard to find. chris christie grapples with mounted evidence that his top deputies deliberately created a massive traffic jam on the world's busiest bridge as political retribution. the support system seems somewhat lacking. can't count on the new jersey party. the national conservative movement which he's had a contentious relationship with
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isn't rushing to his defense either. "red state's" erick erickson headlined his piece on the affair "the politics of a-holes" and wrote "i'm ambivalent on his run for the presidency. i don't see him getting far for the very reasons underlying his issue. he and his staff operate as divas." steve deace tweeted "am i terrible person if i want to get out of the way and let the liberal destroy chris christie 2016 for me?" lindsey graham, "the bridge scandal reinforces a narrative that's troublesome about the guy. he's kind of a bully." graham would later walk the comments back. kentucky senator, tea party hero and longtime christie nemesis rand paul had this to add. >> i know how angry i am when i'm in traffic and always
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wondering, who did this to me? >> chris christie's political obituary is being written, chris christie, himself, doesn't seem to understand quite the magnitude of this scandal. >> i'm enormously flattered that folks would talk to me in their party as someone who they think could be a candidate for president. i'm absolutely nowhere near beginning that consideration process. >> that was today. today. during the press conference christie convened to try to explain the breathtaking political payback scheme that was apparently engineered from inside his own administration. it is this context with a massive abuse of power scandal exploding around him that chris christie says he is, gosh, flattered. chris christie is still convinced republicans think he might be their guy in 2016. joining me now, political consultant -- publisher of the federalist. senior fellow at the heartland institute. ben, i get the sense, i've been very interested to watch conservatives not rally around christie. usually nothing makes conservatives rally around someone faster than when the liberal media has their cross
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hairs on him. that has not been the case so far. >> i'm glad the media finally found on abuse of power scandal they really care about. let's be serious here. this really wouldn't matter if chris christie was the governor of new mexico or governor of new hampshire. he is the front-runner in 2016 and he is on the border of your fair city in terms of the media capital of the country. and that is bringing all this attention to bear on him right now. and i think a lot of conservatives look at christie with skepticism. they see a guy who's basically got to where he is because of his number one asset being his personality. the way that he can sort of come in and throw his weight around as the phrase might go. i think that from my perspective, in terms of charting what this means for his 2016 hopes, it's way early to sort of talk about those sorts
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of issues. guys have recovered from a lot more than just this. >> that is true. is he toast? is he toast? >> i mean, from my perspective, look, i don't know that he's really the presumptive front-runner except for with a fairly narrow constituency of beltway media types. >> right. >> i mean, this is why this hurts more because this strikes right at the narrative that they have supposedly supported about this guy. he's a straight talker. he's competent. he's almost a technocrat in the way he does things. he may be a little bit brusque. here's a guy who admitted to having staff for five years, lied to his face. never questioned them about any of it. this is what he wants us to believe. that's absurd. it's absurd. >> to piggyback on that point about him saying staff has misled him. what's interesting about that, does chris christie seem like the type to you who would allow a staff to mislead him consistently over the years? if you look at his former
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education commissioner who applied for the race to the top funding which is the federal education funding and did not get it. chris christie served him up, threw him under the bus and said he misled him when the application was found to be incomplete. and brett is on the record saying oh, no, no, no, i told him, i gave him the information he needed. i did not mislead him. fast forward. you asked earlier about were there any other ft. lees? we look no further than across the river to jersey city. in jersey city mayor fulop said today an hour after he declined to endorse chris christie, every single commissioner with whom he had a meeting with him canceled that meeting. >> there's an interesting ideological part of this, ben, that gets conservatives going. in some ways it's the worst example of big government gone awry. here's this big, you know, bistate agency that, like, it is the most paranoid fear, right, about the power of the state being misused is exactly this kind of thing. for no reason. a citizen gets screwed over because someone in a position of power uses the tools of government to pursue this kind of thing. >> this is as perfect an
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argument on the local level as you can find against the kind of powerful government agencies we've seen misuse power in the fast. that's something true of both parts. >> the port authority. it's going to be a primary campaign of 2016 for the republican party. >> i think the problem here really for christie is this goes to the essential narrative that we have about whether he can export his brand of politics in 2016. >> yes, exactly. >> the instant -- first time that you have a run-in with staff in iowa over, you know, organizing an event or something like that, the jokes are going to come out about bridges and everything else that goes with that. i think that this is really the problem when you build an entire career out of the kind of brash personality that he has and, frankly, you know, the reason that he's governor of new jersey is in part because of the scandals that happened under corzine, the kind of thing he was supposed to clean up when he got into office. >> i want to talk about who is celebrating today. because there are people celebrating. jon stewart had a funny, if slightly obscene joke about this i won't repeat. but more on that ahead.
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did you ever for even a brief moment entertain the idea that perhaps you should resign? >> oh, god, no. no. brian, i mean, you know, listen, i know you're asking. i am -- you know, i am -- i heard him over here, i'm back. that's a crazy question, man. >> we're back. i'm here with tara, sam, and ben. sam, he -- so i watched this thing today and basically i was thinking, well, there's two possibilities here.
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he really is telling the truth or he is just going all in and thinks he can get away with it. >> he's going all in. the interest thing about that clip you just played is that's almost identical. if you would have put that side by side with his response to the idea that somebody took out a political vendetta is ridiculous, that's a joke, how can you ask that question? look, he was -- he had to swing for the fences because that's his style. he could not sort of bunt here. and, you know, the notion that he's setting this up is, like, i have passed the test of leadership. the test of leadership is to be lied by your staffers for so long, never question anything about them. but then when you're faced with the subpoena documents to fire them. he's diluted or selling a -- >> the other thing he said something else about the situation. there's one e-mail showing he -- one little bit of information that's confirmed that he did talk to someone and that he's completely -- he's out there. i thought, i was thinking to myself as i was watching, i was
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like, well, would he be that stupid to set himself up that way? i remember watching anthony weiner for a week tell everyone it was completely ridiculous. >> you have no choice. >> politicians do crazy stuff. >> deny, deny, deny. >> chris christie in new jersey has been getting away with so much for so long. people say, he wouldn't be that stupid. no, he would be that arrogant. typically when people get away with a lot, it only emboldens them. crist christie is very easily emboldened. >> who is celebrating the most today or the last two days as they watch this unfold? >> other than the obama justice department? people celebrating the most are those candidates for 2016 who are the most donor friendly. the people who actually matter right now within the republican 2016 primary is the donor class. it's the money. okay? and so candidates like marco rubio, candidates like scott walker i think are the ones who stand the most likely to benefit from something like this, where donors will look at courtesy and
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second guess their decision, maybe get a little skittish about endorsing someone this early or backing someone to the hilt. >> i actually read this in the "federalist" which you published, the money primary is really important. as sam was saying, in the same way his base has been kind of the beltway media and his base in the republican party has really been kind of like hedge fund guys in new york. right? right, ben? that's where a lot of these, quote, base support is. >> exactly. that's -- i think it's actually just going to lead us to a situation where 2016 is all the more open for republicans in terms of the field. you're not going to have as big of an investment to back christie early on and clear the path really for him. i think you'll see more competition because of this. i think, frankly, that's a good thing and will be interesting to see how christie responds to this in the future, rather than a personality-driven candidate. he has to be someone we can trust on this and can't be a lick of evidence he's been at all, you know, trying to hide the truth going on here. >> yeah, ben's just given the best-case scenario for christie. you have hedge funders who
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believe he was not as good of a bet as three days ago. we're going to have all sorts of investigations. it's quite possible you have the new jersey u.s. attorneys looking into this. there's also maybe jurisdiction on the new york side. you know, the southern district u.s. attorneys who might also want to look into this. you're going to have hearings, i think, probably in the senate maybe. the u.s. senate. but you're also, you know, you're also going to see civil litigation. that redacted stuff is going to come out in discovery because there's a 91-year-old woman who passed away and the emt people are saying it's because of their response time. >> there's a class action suit filed tonight. the family of that woman who passed away said they to not hold christie responsible. they think it was her time to go. just to get that on the record. tara, sam, and ben. thank you all for your time tonight. that is "all in." "the rachel maddow show" starts now. i'm ending early, like last night i can race upstairs and watch.
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thank you, chris, very much, my friend. thanks to you at home for joining us the next hour. i do have to say i think we may have this hour on this we may have an important new question to raise about this big story about new jersey. this is something you'll only see here. it is a question we think should be out there in the middle of this discussion. i'm going to explain it to you right now. on election day in november, november 2013, both of the big elections in this part of the country, of course, were blowouts. in new york city, democrat bill de blasio beat the republicans in the new york city mayor's race by 49 points. he didn't get 49%, his margin of victory was 49 points. everybody thinks of new york city as a very liberal place but before bill de blasio won in the landslide in new york, new york city hadn't had a democratic mayor in 20 years. that same night across the hudson rivers governor of the state of new jersey

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